Saturday, January 31, 2015

The New 52 Review - January Edition

Art by Jerry8448

Another year, another 52 books to get through. It's funny, after seeing my list get so high, it's intimidating to see it start over at 1 again. I feel like the pressure is on to read as much as I can as soon as I can. As if I'm not going to read enough.... It's only been a month and I'm already 2 books ahead of schedule. If I keep this up, I'll be done in no time.
Let's take a look and see what I read this cold, cold January

by Maria V. Snyder

390 Pages

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.
As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.

This book had a neat concept. I really liked the idea that Healers took on the illness and wounds of their patients and that they then bore the scars with pride. It's a type of healing that I feel I could really get behind. I would take on this type of healing if I had the magic.
I really hated the male lead in this book. He's rather nasty to Avry through most of the book, and when he comes around, we are suppose to accept him as the love interest (&). Yeah... I'm not shipping that at all. He's not as nasty as the villain in the story, who tries to coerce her into bed with magic... ()
That just makes my skin crawl and also why this first book falls into my new trends category (%)
This is the second book that I've read in the last couple of months that deals with magical rape.
Despite that, I'm curious to see what happens in the series and I really, really want the bad guy to get his comeuppance (and see what happens with the death lilies)

by Ann Aguirre

288 Pages

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight--guided by Fade's long-ago memories--in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.
Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world--facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.

I love Ann Aguirre's writing, so I was super stoked when I found out that she had written a teen-fiction series. I wasn't disappointed at all. This was a fast pace, edge of your seat, read, which I devoured in a few days. The post-apocalyptic setting reminded me a lot of The Last of Us, which Adam and I have been playing through, so it lent to the visual quite well. The underground is very creep and dark, but it's almost not as scary as above ground and the gangs that roam the streets with no rules, except survival of the fittest. (%)
I'm always happy when there are male and female character that are just friends. I'm not as happy when that friendship takes a romantic turn for no real reason. (&)()
It's funny that the back tells you that it's New York, since I didn't figure that out until almost the end of the book. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book and see what happens.

by Kristen Britain

471 Pages

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a "life and death" message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission "for love of country." As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man..." 
Karigan's promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

This book was a little strange to read. The beginning was very formulaic. It was pretty much ride, ride, ride, event.
Ride, ride, ride, event.
Ride, ride, ride, event.
It was kind of boring. It wasn't until about half way through the book that it started to get interesting, you know, when she stopped riding so much. When it started to get into the other characters and all the subplots, I was riveted (Well, not by all of it % ). By the end I didn't want to put it down.
I'm curious to see where this series goes, but not enough that I'm rushing out to buy the next book.

by Jacqueline Carey

487 Pages

Once the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord. First-born among them was Haomane, Lord-of-Thought - and with his six sibling gods, they Shaped the world to their will. But Haomane was displeased, for he thought that his younger brother, Satoris, was too prideful (and too generous) in his gifts to the race of Men.
Satoris refused to bow to Haomane, and so began the Shapers' War, which Sundered the world. Haomane and his siblings lay at one end of a vast ocean, unable to touch their creations, while Satoris and the races of the world dwelled on the other. Satoris is reviled because most of the races believe that it was he alone who caused the rift.
Satoris sits in Darkhaven - seeking neither victory nor vengeance. He is not alone, for with him came his allies from the various races. And chief among them is Tanaros Blacksword, immortal Commander General of his army. Once a mortal man who was betrayed by king and wife, Tanaros fled to Darkhaven a thousand years ago, and in Satoris's service has redeemed his honor - but left his humanity behind.
Now a new prophecy has come that tells how the world could be made whole if Satoris were destroyed. In order to thwart the prophecy, Satoris orders Tanaros to capture the Lady of the Ellylon, the beautiful Cerelinde, to prevent her alliance with the last High King of Men. 
What neither Satoris nor Tanaros realize is that meeting Cerelinde will prove that not all of Tanaros's heart was turned to stone by his wife's betrayal, and that part of him is still very human. This will irrevocably change Tanaros's world forever - and could doom Satoris in the process. 

I'm a huge fan of Jacqueline Carey and have read many of her other books. Some of them are fantastic, others not so much. This book was extremely well written, but very slow. Not a lot happens in it. Knowing that it is a 2 part series, I can see that the 1st book is really ramping up for the 2nd book. It's slowing bringing everything together and I imagine the 2nd book is going to be everything coming to a head. I'm very much looking forward to that. But as a book on it's own, it feels more like a middle book in a trilogy; good, but not as good as the others.
I really loved the characters in this book. No one is truly good or evil, so it's hard to know where to stand. The "good guys" are fighting for what they think is right and what has been taught to them their entire lives. The "bad guys" know the truth behind what is supposedly evil, but really is not. It's a neat study of good vs. evil and what war really does to both sides. (%)

by Jill Archer

298 Pages

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting...
After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power (¥). She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.
However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn't the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

I love that she just jumps right into the story. There is no pretense that this book isn't going to be exactly as the back says. It even starts with her competing for the chance to race for the Laurel Crown. The white Heart of Justice is mentioned so many times at the beginning that there is no doubt that it will be the object she will have to look for.
After what happened to Ari in the last book, Rafe becomes the new boy who is constantly at her side. If I had inklings that they were going to try and make him a love interest in the last book, this book confirmed it (&). It was unnecessary, but I'm happy with how it turned out in the end. I'm really hoping that she writes more of this series. I'm really enjoying it. Sadly, her Goodreads profile doesn't say that any more are forthcoming... yet anyway.

Books that I am currently reading

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 16 of 360

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4)
by George R.R. Martin
Page 824 of 978

by Robert Jordan
Page 186 of 782

by Ann Aguirre
Page 99 of 316

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